In the state of Florida, parents or concerned parties are required to take a parenting course (also known as a divorce class) to obtain a divorce when there are minor children involved. This course can assist parents in learning about the effects divorce can have on their family, as well as the best way to handle the difficult transition.
Divorce can be an emotional and traumatic time for both parents and their children, especially when parents are antagonistic and engage in a lengthy legal battle. Conflict in a divorce has been found to be detrimental for children in that they can suffer both short-term and long-term economic, emotional and educational effects during the divorce process. One solution to alleviate the damage and stress to children, is to educate the parents.
Experts have discovered that parents who are provided information on how the courts make decisions on issues affecting their children are more inclined to consider the bests interests of their children when determining custody arrangements. The topics included in the Florida parenting class relate to court action between parents involving custody, care, visitation and support of a child or children. The course is a minimum of four hours long and is designed by the state to educate, train and assist parents to understand and be aware of the consequences of divorce on both parents and children. Florida has made it possible for couples to take the course in person, online or through correspondence.
The course also contains information regarding both spousal and child abuse and neglect along with agencies that provide assistance with these issues. No mental health therapy or legal advice will be given in the course and those providers of the course are not allowed to solicit participants to become clients or patients.
The state expects divorcing couples to complete the Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course in a timely manner and prior to the entry by the court of a final judgment, unless the court excuses the couple from attending or completing the course.